Meet the inspiring female athletes at the forefront of swimming, gymnastics, skateboarding and more events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be quite different from all the other games in the past—there will no spectators and it will take place while the host city Tokyo is under a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

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After delay and drawn-out discussions, the Olympics will kick off July 23 and organisers hope that it will be a "light at the end of the tunnel." 

Ahead of the Olympics, we're spotlighting female athletes who are at the top of their game and inspiring the next generation. From the first Filipino to win a major golf tournament to the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal, here are 15 contenders we'll be cheering for in Tokyo and beyond. 

Related: Tokyo Olympics to be Held Without Spectators Amid New Covid Emergency

1. Tan Sze En

Tan Sze En is arguably one of Singapore's most accomplished and decorated gymnasts. She participated in the 2018 Asian Games and then moved to the United States at the Legacy Elite Gymnastics to train. 

Following her participation in the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart in Germany, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) released the list of Artistic Gymnastics 2020 Olympic Qualifiers and Tan Sze En found herself on the prestigious list. 

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2. Shanti Pereira

Veronica Shanti Pereira will be Singapore's only representative at the track and field event during the Tokyo Olympics after she qualified for the prestigious sporting event early this month. 

Pereira currently holds national records in the women's 100m and 200m and will compete in the women's 200m in Tokyo.

3. Caroline Chew

It was a last-minute withdrawal by New Zealand that allowed for Caroline Chew to slip into the line-up of athletes that will be competing for Singapore at the Olympics. 

In fact, Chew has just become the first Singaporean to compete in equestrian at the Olympics after she and her house, Tribiani, registered a personal best of 69.674. Her score surpassed the minimum requirement of 66 needed to qualify for the Olympics and scored her a place in the games. 

Chew has, in the past, won silver in the dressage individual and team events at the 2015 SEA Games. She also won the bronze individual and team medals in the 2017 edition of the games.

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4. Adele Tan

It was a brutal selection process that took over a year and a half but finally, the Singapore Shooting Association nominated Adele Tan as its women's 10m air rifle representative for the Olympics this year. 

Tan was put through a selection process that comprised of four dedicated meets, the H&N Cup 2020 Munich and three internal shoots.

After winning gold at the H&N Cup and setting a new national record of 632.5 points while she was at it, Tan was a clear frontrunner to represent the nation at the Olympics.

5. Quah Ting Wen

Quah Ting Wen, who is the elder sister of Quah Zheng Wen, is living proof that talent really does run in the family. This year, she qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics by being the "highest-ranked athlete based upon the FINA Points Table", according to the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA).

This will be the third time that Quah will be competing in the Olympics after participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2016 Rio one and now the Tokyo games.

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6. Amita Berthier

Amita Berthier was the first Singaporean to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) fencing title earlier this year.

She then proceeded to beat Yana Alborova in the women's foil final at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan which qualified her to play at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. 

Amita was Singapore's first female fencer to compete at the Olympics until she was joined by Kiria Tikanah. Together, the two young women are set to make history.

7. Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman

Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman may only be 20 years old but she has already taken the fencing world by storm.

Early this year, Kiria participated in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and managed to beat her opponents to qualify for the Tokyo games alongside her teammate, Amita Berthier.

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8. Joan Poh

Joan Poh is certainly a force to behold. Not only is she a nurse and front-line worker but she also managed to qualify for the Olympics this year after working incredibly hard.

In 2018, Poh competed in the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia. She finished ninth in the women's 2,000m single sculls and decided to set her sights on the Olympics next. 

To do this, she went on unpaid leave from the start of 2019 in order to train in Hong Kong, China, Greece, Canada and Australia.

Poh returned to her work in the hospital when she realised that the Olympics would be postponed. In May this year though, Poh managed to earn a spot on Team Singapore for the rowing women's single sculls event in Tokyo where she intends to achieve her Olympic dreams.

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9. Chantal Liew

In June this year, Chantal Liew, an open water swimmer, secured her place for the Tokyo Olympics after finishing 29th in the 10km race at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in Setubal, Portugal. She clocked a time of 2:12:19.5 and qualified by being the best Asian finisher.

Liew was also the first Singaporean woman to win an open water swimming medal at the SEA Games after she managed to score a silver medal. 

10. Freida Lim

Freida Lim is the first female Singaporean diver and the second diver in Singapore’s history to qualify for the games.

The diver placed 15th in the women’s 10m platform semi-final at the Fina Diving World Cup earlier this year but it was not confirmed if she was going to the Olympics or not. However, in June, Lim received the happy news that she will be joining Johnathan Tan in the games where her training will hopefully pay off. 

11. Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low

Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low, award-winning sailors, will be representing the country in the women's 49erFX sailing event at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

The pair, who were also Asian Games champions together, earned their spot after a spectacular performance at the Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Auckland back in 2019. 

12. Amanda Ng

Amanda Ng earned her spot at the Tokyo Olympics during the Mussanah Open Championship which took place earlier this year. 

The 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist and sailor won seven out of 12 races to come out tops in her medal race. 

This will be Ng's second Olympics after she participated in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

13. Feng Tianwei